The estate agency on the corner of my street and the main drag of Nottinghill Gate moved over the winter. Boarded up for months it has now been transformed into a Paul Rhodes Bakery and coffee shop. Today is opening day and I’m sitting inside as I write this. I had hoped to do a little evaluation and compare it with my usual haunts of Le Pain and Apostrophe. No need. This has easily eclipsed them – so no direct comparisons. This is the second outlet, the first opened in Greenwich in 2008 – I’ve never visited.
First, things first, the coffee – Union Hand Roasted – is exceptionally good. All too often Lattes (my morning drink of choice) are bland and milky. This has a bold, rich taste, temperature was perfect. I matched mine with a cheese and ham croissant. Gently heated NOT crushed between sandwich plates which results in something akin to road-kill. Ordered at the register but brought to my table.
Layout is kinda cool. Three tables outside (more later), about 8 bar stools along the window which looks on Linden Gardens and a single table in the corner and then a mezzanine level with 7 tables. The mezzanine level is a good space and is slightly removed from the bustle of the main shop. Decor is light wood and purple with light fittings resembling milk bottles.
Staff are energetic and friendly, but it’s Day One and the sun is shining so we really need to wait for a rainy afternoon in November to see if that lasts ! Now back to those tables outside. The problem here is that this is a very busy junction so the chances are you are going to be a few feet from a diesel fume emitting bus. But it’s only three tables and if you want a quick espresso and a cigarette then you are fixed. Just don’t plan on lingering.
There are a couple of downsides. I suspect it is going to be very popular – good for them, not so good for the regular. But the biggest drawback for me is location. My brisk morning walk to breakfast has now gone down from 1,000 metres to 50 and with that the ability to raise the heart rate ! I also suspect I will now be doubling my visits since it is so close. Bad for waistline and pocket.
In essence – this place is going to thrive.